Plans to build a new medical centre in Oxford Street have been submitted.
St Peter’s and North Laine medical centres merged last autumn, while plans for a new medical centre were being drawn up.
A public consultation was held last December, and last week plans submitted by the company which is building the scheme, Medical Centre Developments, were formally registered by Brighton and Hove City Council.
The two-stage plans involve building on the car park behind the current St Peter’s Medical Centre in Oxford Street and then knocking down that building and replacing it with a new three to four storey building.
The development will provide enough space to serve 16,000 patients as well as a new pharmacy.
The application says: “The current St Peter’s Medical Centre on Oxford Street is no longer fit for purpose and has been identified as being a high priority for refurbishment/rebuild in a city-wide audit.
“The proposal is to replace the existing medical centre on site with one that is fit for use and of a large enough size to accommodate the recent merger of St Peter’s Medical Centre and the North Laine Medical Centre.
“This medical centre is in a city centre location and serves a population with high levels of need – especially in mental health and substance misuse.
“Both current practices have been analysed in a city-wide prioritisation process conducted by the local Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group which indicates that the practices with the highest levels of vulnerability are also those with the highest levels of premises risk.
“Cluster 1, where St Peter’s and North Laine are/were sited, is one of the clusters with the highest level of risk under both indicators.
“Within the surrounding context, there is a high level of need for medical services however, with only access to two of the most vulnerable practices in the city.
“With the risk of both medical centres closing in the near future, the services provided by the new medical centre will be in high demand.”
It adds: “The UK Police database shows the area of Oxford Court car park has a regular and high rate of crime and antisocial behaviour.
“The database considers Oxford Court its own area of notification and in the 12 months between and including March 2018 and February 2019 has listed 88 reports of crime in the vicinity of Oxford Court. This included 16 counts of assault or sexual assault.
“It is clear that serious crime is quite frequent in the area and additional security provided in the proposal will aide in creating a safer environment for the local community.
“A Secured by Design application was made to Sussex Police prior to the submission of this application and advice has been received relating to provision of CCTV, lighting, perimeter security, windows and doors, alarms etc.
“It is intended that this advice will be fully implemented where possible on the project.
“Graffiti is a major problem in the area, and in response to this, graffiti resilient materials have been introduced to the ground floor, specifically glazed brick panels.
“This was identified through meeting with brick representatives and has been successfully used at 25 Oxford Place nearby.”
The merger of the two practices was rushed through last year after the North Laine’s surgery’s 20-year lease ended in August and it was only given a three-month extension.
The CCG has described the current situation, with admin staff working from rented office space at nearby Citibase, as “unsustainable”.
Meanwhile, the medical centres are still waiting to hear whether the NHS Estate and Technology Transformation Fund (ETTF) has approved a £1.24million grant to Medical Developments, in return for which they would pay less rent in future.
The scheme is also being funded by the CCG, which has agreed to give the scheme £492,900 over three years.